Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change

Facebook’s Latest Algorithm Change

In our last blog we shared five easy steps you can follow to create a social media strategy. As we all know, the world of social media is ever-changing and evolving. For example, earlier this month, the Co-Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will be changing its news feed algorithm yet again. The intent of this change according to Zuckerberg is to bring the focus back to “personal moments.”

“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” said Zuckerberg. “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”

This announcement has many businesses including nonprofits wondering how they are going to share their message and get engagement when they are not at the top of the news feed.

According to research data from M+R, “There are more than 1.5 million nonprofits on Facebook.” Many nonprofits do very well getting their donors and volunteers engaged on Facebook, furthermore, for some it is their only social media channel. In addition, Facebook serves as the main fundraising platform for some of these nonprofits.

Per Sheela Nimishakavi in a recent post via Nonprofit Quarterly, “With less exposure to Facebook users who may be potential donors, nonprofits are facing a tough year ahead.”

Zuckerberg’s announcement does not mean the end for nonprofits when it comes to Facebook. Rather it comes back to the point that social media is always changing. Nonprofits must be willing to adapt and work with the news feed changes. At the same time, he reiterates that public content should “encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Once again, this comes back to our last blog that called for creating content that follows the 80-20 rule – 80 percent should educate your audience whereas 20 percent should directly promote your organization. In the nonprofit world, education is meant to be interactive. So it makes sense that the news feed algorithm change could benefit nonprofits long-term.

Nonprofits have meaningful interactions with constituents every day in real life. Those that can find a way to have these types interactions on Facebook may find success with the new algorithm,” said Nimishakavi.

Let us work with you on your next event to showcase the meaningful interactions and personal moments that shape your world.

Five Easy Steps to Create a Social Media Strategy for 2018

Five Easy Steps to Create a Social Media Strategy for 2018

For someone who doesn’t have experience with social media it can be quite a daunting task to develop a yearly strategy. However, it doesn’t have to be. By following these five easy steps you can put together a social media strategy that will be effective and enticing the entire year.

The first step is to identify what your organizational goals and objectives are for the year. Being the first month of the new year, this is a great time to regroup and redefine. Your social media strategy should be a natural extension of your organization’s goals and objectives. For example, if your goal is to generate “x amount of leads” then you should ask yourself does this post drive followers to take action?

The second step is to determine what your current social media looks like. Furthermore, this means deep diving into who you are currently following and who follows you. You’ll also want to pay attention to who your competitors are following and what they are saying on social media. Oftentimes, this is referred to as a social media listening for the purposes of an audit. A social media audit can provide valuable insight and showcase to you what you could be doing better.

The third step is to create a social media content calendar. Your social media calendar will include the specific dates and times you wish to post content on various platforms. Content should consist of text, images, videos, and links. You can easily create this calendar in a Google doc or sheet. This way you can share it with other members of your team and get their feedback. An easy principal to follow when creating content is the 80-20 rule. Furthermore, 80 percent of content should educate your audience whereas 20 percent should directly promote your organization.

The fourth step is to schedule your messages in advance. Depending how many social accounts you are working with, there are some scheduling products that are free up to a certain number. For example, Buffer allows you to manage three social accounts for free. For only $10 they will allow you to manage and schedule for 10 accounts.

The final step is to test your social media strategy. You can do this through a variety of ways by measuring the success of your strategy. Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track page visits driven by social media. In addition, there are other social media analytics tools out there that you can utilize to track and measure the reach of your success. Most social platforms nowadays like Facebook have an “Insights” tab that allows you to see who among your audience is the most engaged.

With these five easy steps you can be on your way to creating and executing a social media strategy that aligns with your organizational goals and objectives for 2018.

Is #GivingTuesday Worth It?

Giving Tuesday. Like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it comes once a year. For some, it’s a breeze and for some, it’s a nightmare.

But does it have to be? Could the #GivingTuesday chaos all be avoided?

To many, Giving Tuesday is a strange concept. While the phenomenon of Black Friday and Cyber Monday is focused on consumerism and getting the best deals you can find, some would consider Giving Tuesday to not be of the same caliber as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Let’s take Engagement, for example.

Department store and website sales do not require long-term engagement. However, for non-profits, long-term engagement is the name of the game. The goal is to obtain donors that last throughout the years and can sustain the non-profit’s mission. While a large, one-day push may help immediate fundraising efforts, there’s no guarantee those donors will become long-term supporters.

 

Now, let’s discuss social media overcrowding.

Social media is all about whatever is trending at the moment. In 2016, there were over 600,000 tweets including the hashtag #GivingTuesday (https://www.givingtuesday.org/sites/default/files/2017-07/Giving-Tuesday-Final-Report.pdf). While we weren’t able to find a statistic about how many organizations had tweets for #GivingTuesday, we’re sure there’s quite a few! Be wary of spending too much time on your social media campaigns as most of the social media timelines will be flushed with #GivingTuesday posts.

 

However, we need to consider the payoff.

One great thing about #GivingTuesday is that it is a day of global giving fueled by social media. With the exception of paid advertising, social media is virtually free. Therefore, you can get the word out about your organization for little to no money at all! If your time is managed well, you could put together a fairly solid #GivingTuesday campaign without spending too much time on it (which we’re all guilty of doing).

 

Manage your time wisely. While #GivingTuesday can be a great asset to increase end-of-year donations, keep in mind that this probably isn’t an event that is going to create new sustainable donors for your cause. Take the day to give in to the hype a little and round up some donations if possible, but just be cautious of how much time you’re allocating to it!

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How To Attract Donors

When you want to get others involved, and you need them to provide help or donate money, there are a few areas you’ll want to focus in order to succeed.

  • Share Your Story – A compelling story will allow your donors and volunteers to become emotionally connected. By telling them about what you do and why you do it, your story provides an opportunity to arouse their emotion, and to motivate them to act upon those emotions. Therefore, make sure to share your passion, and the moving tales from those who have benefitted from your work.
  • Effective Social Media Usage – Potent, targeted social media can exponentially increase your visibility in order to boost board and volunteer engagement. Social media can be used to advise them of your mission, inspire them to join you, keep them connected, and grow your audience. Additionally, social media can provide an outlet for sharing events and successes, extending opportunities, and for educational purposes.
  • Community Inclusion – Your local community is an essential resource for fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Enlisting small businesses and others within your community to partner with you in your mission can offer them an opportunity to make a significant impact through both donor and volunteer opportunities. In return, these same opportunities can offer small businesses benefits such as increased brand awareness, enhanced public opinion within the community, and employee engagement. A little research can help you and your partners be assured your goals are aligned.
  • PR – Good public relations practices can help you build and maintain your positive public image, so knowing how to communicate your message is vital. Numerous avenues are available, including your website, videos, and the various social media platforms. Use them to offer biographies of your staff, and the stories from volunteers, donors, and those who have derived benefit from your organization. Share major campaigns, events, awareness raising dates, and tie your mission to current events either nationally or within your community.

At WEDO Charity Auctions, we help organizations exceed their fundraising goals. Our team is made up of passionate, dedicated and experienced fundraising professionals, who specialize in simple, insightful and creative fundraising event solutions. WEDO Charity Auctions utilizes technology and expertise to grow your mission.

If you would like more information on how WEDO Charity Auctions can help you raise money, build relationships or celebrate your successes, please call 844-315-1060 or visit us today at www.wedocharityauctions.com.

 

 

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What You Need To Know About Developing Your Story

 

The creation of a story is one of the most powerful tools a nonprofit organization can utilize, and that story must be exceptional. A story is an integral part of a nonprofit’s branding, providing an opportunity to not only arouse emotion, but to motivate others to act upon those emotions.

In fact, stories influence decisions much more effectively than facts or statistics, which are typically difficult to retain. Think of the story as a way that fundraisers can assist donors to visualize expressing their own values through the work that the organization does. Then, consider these areas in order to tell the most powerful story.

What Your Story Should Include

  • Mission – A mission statement should ideally state an organization’s purpose, goals, and who it serves, in a brief, but informative declaration. This statement should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the statement stays properly aligned at all times with its current vision.
  • Testimonials – There may be nothing more valuable than hearing from others about their experiences with your organization, its services or programs. These positive testimonials function as trustworthy referrals, inspiring confidence, in addition to building credibility and interest. Endorsements should express the benefit your organization has provided, along with the recipient’s name, title and photograph whenever possible. Consider asking volunteers, donors, and recipients for these recommendations, and make certain they’re refreshed on a regular basis.
  • Video – A video can bring a story to life in an entirely unique way, and should encapsulate the spirit of the organization. Videos can eloquently vocalize and simultaneously present imagery that expresses the organization’s mission, demonstrates its impact upon individuals, and then includes a call to action. It’s important to thoroughly understand and effectively communicate the organization’s message, remembering that a video is all about emotional responses. A highly compelling video can be used and reused in many ways such as for website content or social media posts, or for showing at recruitment events, among many other applications.
  • Goals – Goals are essential for motivating both donors and volunteers. Although long-term goals emphasize a program’s performance in fulfilling its mission, its short-term goals consist of the time specific tasks that must be completed in order to experience success in its long-term goals. Both long and short-term goals should always be realistic and quantifiable.

At WEDO Charity Auctions, we help organizations exceed their fundraising goals. Our team is made up of passionate, dedicated and experienced fundraising professionals, who specialize in simple, insightful and creative fundraising event solutions. WEDO Charity Auctions utilizes technology and expertise to grow your mission.

If you would like more information on how WEDO Charity Auctions can help you raise money, build relationships or celebrate your successes, please call 844-315-1060 or visit us today at www.wedocharityauctions.com.

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Are Your Messages Reaching Your Audience?

It’s no secret that marketing emails are hard to perfect. Maybe they seem too spammy, maybe they’re not interesting enough, or maybe they just don’t stand out enough to catch the eye of your audience. Either way, email marketing is the only form of marketing that can return $44.25 for each $1 spent when executed properly.

 

There are a few things to take into consideration here, aren’t there? What device is your audience primarily viewing your emails from? What does your subject line usually read? Who are your emails coming from? All of these are important elements for your marketing campaigns and if you haven’t taken a look at the statistics of your audience – it’s time to start.

Let’s Talk Devices

What percentage of your audience is viewing your emails from a desktop? Mobile? Tablet? We’re willing to bet you will be surprised when you look into this. According to Gartner, 74% of smartphone owners use their devices to check their email. Why is this important? Not all emails are created equal. Emails can be optimized for viewing on certain devices.  If your audience views your emails and newsletters primarily via their smartphone, you’re going to want to make sure to optimize your emails for mobile in order to get the most opens and views!

Subject Lines

Alright, this is important! Subject lines could be one of the reasons that your email goes from an inbox to a trash or spam folder without even being opened. This is the first thing, other than the person sending the message (we’ll get to that later), that your recipients will see. Think of it as a first impression. Test a few different things out. Personal, casual, in the form of a question, whatever you want to try! The most important part is to TEST, TEST, TEST.

Sent from Who?

The author of the email is one of the most overlooked pieces of an email campaign. It’s the name that shows up in the recipient’s inbox. Is it a person? A company name? It’s important to consider who your emails are coming from. Emails coming from a company name get noticed as marketing emails almost immediately, which can easily send your email straight to the spam or trash folder. Emails coming from an individual look more personal and are more likely to be opened.

 

Do some testing, try some different things out, and get a feel for what works best for your audience. An effective email marketing campaign can be one of the most vital tools for your organization, so be sure to get the most out of it!

Turn Your Volunteers into Fundraisers

It’s no secret that in the world of fundraising, your network is arguably the most important asset you can have. Who you know and how you know them makes a huge difference in your ability to secure a donation, whether it be one time or recurring. Just as your network in fundraising important, many organizations overlook a very important aspect of fundraising – your volunteers and their respective networks.

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Volunteers can be easily overlooked, but it’s time to discuss the advantages of incorporating your volunteers and the networks they come with.

Your volunteers already know your organization inside and out and they care about the cause.

Your volunteers have already given their time and effort to your organization, so you know they are passionate about your organization’s mission and what it works to accomplish.  In addition, they have an experience with your organization that others may not. Your volunteers can turn into your best story tellers.  They see your mission in the works and they see the difference it makes in the lives of others.

They have experience with the programs your fundraising events are benefitting.

Odds are, your volunteers already have experience with the programs your events benefit and can tell the story of how your events and organizations have transpired. They’ve seen how the program operates when funds are limited and they’ve (hopefully) seen how it thrives and money isn’t an issue. Your volunteers can tell the story for both sides and stress the importance of funds and how it impacts your organization when those funds are limited.

Making it Happen

1. Solid Technology

Technology can make or break your campaign’s success. Donor experience is a crucial piece of the puzzle when considering your technology.  If they’re going to give money, donating should be as simple as possible. Also, ensure your donation platform is mobile user-friendly. Mobile giving has increased 205% in the last year according to atpay.com

2. Great Instruction

Give your fundraisers a plethora of tools they can use to assist them in their efforts.  More often than not, a new fundraiser may not know where to start and can quickly get overwhelmed. Email templates, pre-made posts for social media, and testimonials are a great place to start!

3. Consistent Recognition

Many volunteers and fundraisers may feel as though their hard work goes unnoticed. Make sure you’re celebrating the milestones with regular updates, social media posts, and stories about how their work is helping.

Let us help you with your fundraising goals.

3 Fundraising Ideas Your Organization Is Overlooking

Fundraising comes in many shapes and sizes.  From good old email marketing to crowdfunding giants, there are many ways to reach your fundraising goals.  With so many options, it can be overwhelming to try to choose the best idea(s) for your organization to ensure you get the job done! In turn, you may overlook some great options for you.

Here are three ideas (among MANY others) you may be overlooking:

  1. Gamify Fundraising: Everyone loves a friendly competition.  I’m sure you’ve heard of penny wars, but there are many other ways to turn fundraising into a game! Creating leaderboards, progress bars, badges, and points are just a handful of ways to increase competition during fundraising.
  2. AmazonSmile: Amazon has 300 million users, so odds are some of those users are your donors! While it’s not a large amount that’s donated back to your organization, if your donors are shopping on amazon anyway, you might as well take advantage of it! 0.5% of the eligible AmazonSmile purchases get donated back to the charitable organizations selected by Amazon customers.
  3. In-Event Content: This is one of the most genuine and successful ways to increase your fundraising. Showing videos or having testimonials given during events is a great way to show the donors that what you’re doing is working and making a difference in the lives of REAL people.  Tugging on the heart strings is one of the most successful ways to get donors to fork over some cash! Try having a video or in-person testimonial right before your live ask or fund-a-need to maximize donations!

If you’re looking to boost your fundraising, we recommend trying out some new techniques in addition to what already works for you!

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Increasing Donation Opportunities and Where You’re Going Wrong

The opportunity to donate to charities is all around us. The pairing of non-profits and technology makes it easier than ever for donors to give and organizations to receive. Checking out at a local grocer means adding a dollar to your bill to help feed a hungry family. You scroll through a favorite social media page and see posts from far-off friends raising money for an unexpected health crisis. A text message notification reveals its time to pay the utility bill which also features an opportunity to donate to the local animal shelter. But does easier translate into more for non-profits? Is it really that important for a non-profit organization to have an online giving platform and mobile donation app?

Donor Digital Data

Charitable giving studies for 2015 revealed the following data:

  • December was the strongest month of the year for charitable giving. 30% of annual donations were received during December, 2015, with the most revenue generated the last three days of the month.
  • Donors preferred to give on Thursday with Tuesday as runner-up. 20% of donations were made on Thursday, 19% on Tuesday.
  • Thursday’s average donation amount was $151.
  • 97% of charitable gifts were given through a desktop computer.
  • 90% of gifts were a one-time thing.
  • One-time gifts averaged $137 with recurring gifts averaging $52.
  • The most giving times of the day were 10am-11am, 1pm-3pm, traditional work hours. That means the majority of giving took place while people were on the job.

Traditional v. Digital

There is no doubt that statistics reveal giving trends are going digital. While overall charitable activities were up 2% in 2015 as compared to 2014, online giving was up 9%. But, exactly, where are people giving online? Who are these donors?

More than half of online donations are given on a particular branded charitable organization web page. The strongest givers, with a gift size average of $183, were employees donating through employer-sponsored causes. Whether it was payroll deductions, company sponsored charity events, or workplace fundraisers.

E-mail fundraising efforts grew in 2015. On average, 4.4 cents was raised per e-mail. For every 1,000 e-mails delivered to a potential donor’s mailbox, $44 in revenue, on average, was generated. It may not sound like much compared to digital giving that took place directly on a non-profit’s webpage. However, e-mail generated revenue for charitable organizations actually grew by nearly 20% last year. It far outpaced the previous year’s 12% growth.

Every opportunity to digitally connect with donors gives a non-profit the chance to grow. Sharing content and joining a non-profit’s email list is just as important to a non-profit’s growth as a supporter’s donation.

Out of all charitable giving, only 3% was non-digital. For charities dependent on cash or checks, this is bad news. The Salvation Army reported raising nearly $145 million through their holiday season Red Kettle cash donation campaign, which is the backbone of the organization’s annual fundraising. Such numbers simply can’t compare with the amount of money raised for donations online.

The Winning Digital Recipe

What does all this data mean? To take advantage of the obvious generosity of donors, a charitable organization needs all the elements of a winning recipe:

  • Connect with an online giving platform that donors trust.
  • Create a mobile app.
  • Connect with employers interested in sponsoring your non-profit’s cause so that you can tap into the contribution resources of a company’s employees.
  • Create the opportunity for potential donors to share content and sign-up for e-mail notifications.

All In One Place

 Online giving performs strongly for a number of reasons that are all tied to together in the same place:

  • Convenience.
  • Anonymity.
  • No pressure.
  • Opportunity to research the organization before giving.
  • Donors can set-up a recurring donation.

Today’s donors are not just technologically savvy, they are also informed, consumers. While online and considering giving a gift, a supporter has the opportunity to learn about a non-profit’s cause. That is why it is so important for a non-profit to be connected with the right giving platform. Just as a brick and mortar storefront’s success is all about location, location, location, the same can be said for any organization’s cyberworld address. When donors arrive at a site that they know is as reputable as it is easy to navigate, they not only give with confidence, there is a greater chance that they will become a regular benefactor. So, whether you are a non-profit or a donor looking to connect with the right cause, get connected in the right place.

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5 Tips to Ensure a Successful Golf Outing

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your organization’s annual golf outing. Summer is a great time to supplement your larger fundraising events, or possibly create a golf outing that becomes your donor’s new favorite way to benefit the cause during the warmer months.

There are many ways to take advantage of a golf outing, but it’s important to make sure you have the ability to maximize its potential. We’re bringing you 5 tips to ensure your next golf outing is a successful one!

Have a flow planned out

Many times, golf outings are day long events. While you only have a few hours to wow your patrons in a charity auction event, impressing your donors at your golf outing is just as important. Not keeping their experience a fantastic one throughout the day can make for a VERY long event. Make sure you have a set schedule that has every moment coordinated with everyone involved to make for an enjoyable day.

Add additional activities

In addition to the golf tournament, you may want to add in additional activities throughout the tournament.  Think about adding in contests for longest drive, longest putt, and drive closest to the pin.  You can even add this in as a different ticket option during registration that allows the golfers to participate in the extra games for a few extra bucks!

  1.  Offer a ticket for dinner only. Be sure to offer a dinner only option for your golf outing.  This can often be overlooked, however, it’s crucial to increase attendance and fundraising opportunities! Offering a dinner only option allows you to include friends or family of the golfers to attend the dinner portion of the evening.
  2. Include an auction.  While the golf outing takes up the majority of the day, it may be beneficial to include an auction during the dinner portion for those that did not participate in the golf outing.  Auctions at a golf outing tend to be a tad smaller than an event based around an auction.  You should be set with 10-25 items up for auction!
  3. Provide merchandise.  Be sure to offer some cause branded merchandise to your golfers for participating. This could also be a great way to showcase your sponsors! Allow your sponsors to offer some merchandise to the participants as well. You could do this for a few bucks or give it out for free!

There are many ways to make sure that your golf outing goes well. Be sure to start your planning early and offer some great options for the golfers, as well as their family or friends!